Tag Archives: Learning Stations

Lessons from the Past: Building a Multi-genre Humanities Unit on the Holocaust

I am currently working with two social studies teachers to create a unit of study on the Holocaust. This collaborative unit will tap into the new 3C Framework  for Social Studies Standards and the Common Core Learning Standards for Literacy to promote critical thinking, close reading and students creating their own multigenre text.  

This 6-8 week unit on World War II incorporates multigenre texts (book excerpts, poetry, plays, letters, primary documents, speeches, political cartoons, and additional art work), project based activities, and co-teaching among ELA and Social Studies teachers. Over the course of the unit students will write their own multigenre text as a formative assessment based on some aspect of World War II. This unit of study will be a skills based unit that requires students to look at aspects of humanity within war and conflict.

Below are five learning stations that highlight the voices and testimony of Holocaust survivors and victims.

Station One: Concentration Camp Life

1. Read the story of Holocaust survivor Erma Sonnenberg Menkel (http://www.ou.org/holidays/the-three-weeks/saw-anne-frank-die/)

What did you learn after reading this article?

What happened to Anne Frank after she was taken out of the secret annex?

2. Watch the survivor video testimonies of Norbert Wolheim (http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_oi.php?ModuleId=10007143&MediaId=5721) and Alice Lok Cahana (http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_oi.php?MediaId=1081)

How were their stories similar or different from Erma’s?

Would you have done the same things they did if you were in their position(s)?

3. Choose to complete 20 Words Activity or Found Poem

Station Two: Reading Diaries of Teenagers Who Lived in the Ghetto

salvaged-pages-cvr

1. Read excerpts from diaries, written by teenagers, about their life in the ghettos, and their physical and emotional conditions there.

The story of Yitskhok Rudashevski from Vilna Ghetto began writing his diary when he approached his fifteenth birthday. He wrote about his academic pursuits and of how he sees himself contributing to the intellectual and literary life of the Ghetto.

On September 1943, the liquidation of the ghetto began. He and his family went into hiding; later on, the family was found and taken to Ponar, where they were shot to death. His friend, who survived, returned to the hiding place where she discovered the diary.

2. Complete the Think Dots Activity: Each person at your table will take turns rolling the dice and complete the learning task from the corresponding dot.

Station Three: Poetry & The Holocaust

1.Read the poem three times. Then answer the following questions:

What are some words in the poem that brings images to your mind?

What do you think is the theme (message) of the poem? What line or lines from the poem gave you that indication?

What is the poet’s purpose for the reader (How did the poet stir you?)

Emotional- Does the poet wants the reader to become emotional about the message? (angry, sad, happy, peaceful, complacent, courage, fear, etc.) What is your evidence?- Share a line.

Reflective: Think about the message in terms of your own life, be inspired. Share a line and make a connection.

Homesick

(from I never saw another butterfly)

I’ve lived in the ghetto here for more than a year,

In Terezin, in the black town now,

And when I remember my old home so dear, I can love it more than I did, somehow.

Ah, home, home,

Why did they tear me away?

Here the weak die easy as feather And when they die, they die forever.

I’d like to go back home again,

It makes me think of sweet spring flowers. Before, when I used to live at home,

It never seemed so dear and fair.

I remember now those golden days…

But maybe I’ll be going there soon again.

People walk along the street,

You see at once on each you meet That there’s ghetto here,

A place of evil and of fear.

There’s little to eat and much to want, Where bit by bit, it’s horror to live. But no one must give up!

The world turns and times change.

Yet we all hope the time will come When we’ll go home again.

Now I know how dear it is

And often I remember it.

Station Four: Art and the Holocaust
What does the text say?Read the picture carefully. What do you notice? (Literal Understanding)

About the artist: Samual Bak is one of many artists that choose to express in their artwork their feelings and thoughts about the Holocaust. Samuel Bak is a survivor of the Holocaust and for many years he painted subject surrounding the Holocaust. The painting The ghetto, as Samuel Bak explains it is “An inclined surface with no horizon and no possibility of escape. Indeed, when we were thrown into the ghetto like human garbage, it felt like being in a deep hole. This hole is in the shape of the Star of David, the emblem of the ghetto. Near it lies our badge of identification.”
What does the text mean? What is the artist’s purpose in taking this photo? Who did Samual Bak hope would see his artwork? Why?

Station Five: Terrible Things

When a child is born, it has no prejudices.

Bias is learned, and someone

Has to model the behavior.

  1. Read aloud in your group Eve Bunting’s picture book Terrible Things.
  2. Discuss with your small group your thoughts and reactions.
  3. Write a reflective response drawing connections to the picture book and the following passage by Holocaust survivor and author Eli Wiesel:

Never shall I forget that night, the first night in the camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.

Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.  

Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live.

Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God himself. Never. (Night, 32)

4. The question that is always asked in why do we learn what we do in school, with that question looming in many student’s mind,  Why study the Holocaust, something that happened more than 50 years ago? What are the important lessons that you take away from the testimonies of people who were witnesses, allies, targets, and rebels during this time.  

 

 

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , ,

Close Reading Practice: Station Work with To Kill a Mockingbird

The beginning of fall means To Kill a Mockingbird in my 8th grade classroom and it is also the time to immerse students into the practice of close reading. The more and more students have opportunities to reread chunks of texts, the better their ability of peeling back the layers of a text. To Kill a Mockingbird is a wonderful (and complex) text to use for close reading of a story still relevant today and the beauty of Harper Lee’s craft of writing.

Early in the school year students need support with close reading. I have students chunk parts of the text and read it first for the basics or literal understanding. The second and third readings are reading with more purpose: language, craft, vocabulary, and mechanics. I want students to actively use the information from their readings to talk, share, write, illustrate, and or debate the theories and ideas they are formulating in their mind while reading.

To help students read and reread the text, I created three different learning stations this week. Each station had students practice towards mastery and gain more confidence with close reading. Students were to choose two of the stations to complete within a forty minute period. Each station was leveled based on students’ understanding of the text.

Station One – Level One – Literal Understanding of the text. I created a Bingo Board with twenty five questions about the plot in To Kill a Mockingbird. Students had 15 minutes to complete double bingo (or for additional points, complete the entire board for homework) with questions addressing Who, What, Where, When, and simple How questions.

Station Two – Level Two – Notice and Note Signposts in the Text. Students were to go back into the text and pull out examples of the six signposts from K. Beers & B. Probst’s Notice and Note. This text is one of the fundamentals in my teaching repertoire because it requires students to be engaged with and analytical of the text.

Station Three – Level Three – Text Dependent Questions How the Text Works, What Does the Author Mean, and Synthesis. These questions were the challenge questions for my students. Students who really were looking to grapple with the text and go back and do deep digging within the chapter chose this station. These questions might include:

  1. The beginning of Chapter 7 Scout refers back to what Atticus told her about “climbing into another man’s skin and walk around in it.” This is the second time Atticus’ maxim is repeated in the story — it’s something to note and notice (repetition). What does this metaphor do for us as the reader? What does this metaphor help the reader to understand?
  2. Chapter 7 is a series of vignettes about mysteries Jem and Scout find: The sewn up pants, the gifts in the knot hole, the soap sculptures of the children. What is the author doing here? What is the mood among the children in the beginning of this chapter versus the end? How do we know?

I work with an amazing Math teacher who levels all his math work in the class. Students choose the math work based on their understanding of the math concepts taught in class. The basic work is labeled “Mustard” whereas the next level of work has a bit of a kick with a few challenge  questions is labeled “Wasabi.” For those students who rock the math concepts and want a brain teaser, they select “Naga Jolokia,” — the world’s hottest pepper! I always model his class work when I am differentiating my lessons. Not only does the station work allow for differentiation, it also encourages student choice. Choice and practice get students closer to mastery with key ideas, concepts, and strategies.

Tagged , , ,

To Kill a Mockingbird Amazing Race

Two weeks ago I posted a Vine video I created of my students going around our school to complete an “Amazing Race” style activity to complete six different activities related to our reading of To Kill a Mockingbird. A handful of people tweeted me and asked me to share the activity. I am a big proponent of of learning stations and I wanted to put a spin on learning stations by making these activities a competition among students and setting up the stations around the school using clues related to the novel. For example, one clue read Scout said, “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read.” Where can Scout fuel her passion for reading? Here is where you can find the next task on your TKAM Amazing Race.

Each group of students were given a map with QR codes that led them around the school to then complete the text based activities. Each team got an answer record sheet and used their mobile devices to read the QR Codes and required readings at the different stations. All required readings were linked via QR codes but I have linked the articles below for my readers.

Below are the six activities I asked my students to complete throughout the two day “Amazing Race” competition.

1. A Nightmare Among Us – Chapter 15

Read the article “Fear Factor: How herd mentality drives us.

Answer 3 questions to make a tic-tac-toe win. Write your responses on the answer sheet provided and bring to class completed.

2. Gender Codes

In Chapters 11, 12, & 13 Scout is reminded by others to “act like a lady.”

Read through the article “Growing Up Female in the 1930s South.” Think about what connections you can make between women interviewed and the women in TKAM.

Complete the compare/contrast foldable in your Interactive English Notebook identifying similarities and differences between the gender expectations for women during this time period and Scout’s struggle to meet the gender expectations.

3. Caste Systems in Maycomb – Chapter 13

What is a caste system?

A social structure in which classes are determined by heredity.

Caste systems, social inequalities, and poverty cycles are all sub stories in TKAM. Throughout the book there are divisions in social classes which cause tension and conflict.

What is the hierarchy in Maycomb County? Complete the chart on your answer sheet by placing where you think each of the characters belong. Then, find evidence to support your claim.

4. Different Dialects – Chapter 12

In Chapter 12 Scout and Jem attend church with Calpurnia. They notice that she uses language differently at church than she does in their home. Scout describes Calpurnia as “having command of two languages.”

Use your text to examine the conversation between Jem, Scout, and Calpurnia at the end of Chapter 12. Respond to the following questions, using quotes from the novel to help explain your responses.

  1. A) How do Scout and Jem describe the way Calpurnia uses language in church?
  2. B) What explanation does Calpurnia give for using language differently at church than in the Finch’s home?

5. Courage

At the end of Chapter 11 Atticus tells Jem, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.”

  1. How do you define courage?
  2. Who shows courage in the novel? Complete the chart on your answer sheet illustrating two characters who exemplify courage, how they show courage, and specific textual evidence that supports your claim.

6. Life Lessons

Find three people (Young people or adults) who can tell you the important life lessons they remember from the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Video record on your phone, this person talking about their memories about the book and the important life lessons they took away from the novel.

If you would like a copy of my activity with the answer record sheet and QR Code maps for each group, please email me or leave a comment on my blog and I will share the document with you. Please note that the clues I created for my students were specific to my school.

Tagged , , ,

Lots of Content + Not Enough Time = Learning Stations

As the end of the school year is winding down and the content continues at a steady pace before finals, I am doing more learning station activities to help my students learn important elements that will help them on the final and in the years ahead. Many elementary school teachers incorporate learning stations in their classrooms, secondary school teachers can benefit from learning stations as well.

What do I mean by learning stations?

Learning stations are designated areas in the classroom where students can work independently or in small groups to accomplish a given learning task. The teacher can work solely with one group or facilitate all the different stations to help keep students on task, answer questions, and promote inquiry.

What do learning stations look like for secondary students?

I tend to rearrange my classroom when doing station activities. Students choose which group they go to first and directions are clearly posted at each station.

Students can visit two to three stations per period. For the Midsummer Night’s Dream station activity there were three different stations and students had twelve minutes at each station before they rotated on the next. The objective was to cover all three stations within a 40 minute period.  At the first station students worked with a partner or in small groups to play “Roll the Dice,” a differentiated activity that allows students take turns rolling a die (round 1) or dice (round 2) and answer comprehension questions correlating to the number he or she rolled.

The second station focused on symbols of love and astrology/the moon in the text. Students were given a handout with the different symbols, significance of each symbol, and then had to go back into the text to find specific quotes that illustrate each of the symbols.

 Image Image

The last station required students to complete an interactive foldable on the many characters in Shakespeare’s play. There were three layers to this foldable for each of the three interconnecting stories in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Students identified each of the character’s status and or position and then found a telling quote to illustrate the character’s personality. Once students completed the foldable he or she glued it into his or her notebook.

Image

Learning Stations allow students to tap into a variety of inquiries in a “hands on” manner rather than teach and listen approach. Depending on how the teacher organizes the stations, they can be based on Bloom’s Taxonomy or Multiple Intelligences. Learning stations promote independence and responsibility.

Tagged , ,